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Paper is for origami, not diabetes logbooks

8/7/2018 by Scott Johnson

Paper is for origami, not diabetes logbooks

I think I speak for many people with diabetes (PWD’s) when I say that manually keeping track of diabetes data is a lot of work!

But there are a lot of things we do that take work. Like brushing our teeth – yet we still do it! Why? Because there are benefits. Bright white teeth, fewer cavities, and a beautiful smile. Keeping a logbook is similar! There is a payoff! And thankfully, it's getting easier all the time.

Can't analyze the data if there is no data...

Years ago, I went to my diabetes doctor empty-handed. Unfortunately, I also left empty-handed. He couldn't make any adjustments to my diabetes management or help me troubleshoot problems because I didn't have any records to show him. Am I going high after breakfast? I don’t know. Am I having lows before bedtime? I don’t know. Am I waking up too high or low? I don’t know. The phrase, "I don't know" was the theme of the whole appointment. It was so frustrating, but also made total sense to me. What was I expecting when I didn't have any records to review?

Finding the right diabetes logbook tool

Finding the right tool(s) is critical. I'm often frustrated by paper logbooks for a few reasons:

  • there's not enough room for what I want to write
  • I can't read my own handwriting
  • doesn't hold up well in my pocket
  • I forget to bring it with me

To get around the formatting issues (running out of space, testing more often than there are spots for, etc.), I tried using a plain lined notepad. I even bought a fancy Moleskine notebook. But without a structure or format, I couldn't spot the patterns or trends and soon gave up altogether.

Automatic logging

With mySugr, we change all of that. And today, most of my diabetes devices are connected/synchronized to my smartphone and automatically log everything. Patterns are super easy to spot, which makes my doctor happy, and the information is immediately useful to me, which makes me happy. With one quick glance, I get a powerful overview of my day and week. I can also search for tags, keywords, or locations. Fredrik shared a great example of this recently when he appeared on DSMA Live.

“he told the story of ordering a meal where he wasn’t sure about his carb estimate. He searched for a similar meal in mySugr and found one from 1.5 years ago. He saw what he estimated, how much insulin he took, and what his blood sugars did afterward. From that record, he saw that he drastically underestimated the carbs last time, which left him running high after the meal. Being able to see this information so quickly and easily helped him adjust his insulin dose for this meal.”

Having the information readily available helped Fredrik make a better decision and avoid an afternoon of high blood sugars. Would I have been able to find that entry in a paper logbook (or another app) from years ago? With my entries logged into mySugr, I have a ton of great information for my doctor. My appointments become full of useful interaction and great feedback, starting with the PDF reports. Additionally, with the mySugr Bundle, I have access to mySugr Coach. That means I can reach out to certified diabetes coaches right through the app anytime I need help or have questions. And because they have access to my readings through mySugr, the answers I get are personalized and fit my situation exactly. We also don't waste any time uploading, downloading, or transferring information.


We talked about the benefit of brushing our teeth, which makes brushing a habit for most of us (I hope). I think the benefits of logging are also compelling. And thanks to connected devices and services like the mySugr Bundle, it gets easier all the time. It's time to get connected and get started. Let's leave the paper for making origami.


The Smart Search Feature in the mySugr app is currently only available on iOS. We are also working to make it available again on Android in the future.

The mySugr website does not provide medical or legal advice. mySugr blog articles are not scientific articles, but intended for informational purposes only.
Medical or nutritional information on the mySugr website is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult a physician or health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Scott Johnson

Almost famous for being a Diet Coke fanatic, Scott is the Patient Success Manager, US for mySugr and has lived well with diabetes for over 40 years. He's an active pioneer in the diabetes social media space and along with his work at mySugr, he manages his award-winning blog, when time allows.